Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The quest for the best

This summer’s trip to Maine has revved up my interest in making hiking/climbing a more regular part of our recreation. Unfortunately, it also finished off my favorite hiking boots—a gash in the side, now makes lacing them futile. My trusty boots ...memories of many places and much enjoyment. Sniff.
I hate the thought of finding new boots almost as much as I hate car shopping. So many new materials, styles, colors, ...prices...its hard to know where to begin the hunt. And, although I’ll buy almost anything else online, boots must fit—perfectly.
So, I started with the obvious--the local sporting goods stores. I didn’t get any closer to discovering the perfect boot, but I did learn this: women don’t hike.

I found women’s walking, running, basketball, cross-training, “lifestyle” (whatever that means) and “fashion athletics” (for those who want to look athletic?)
Men, on the other hand, have an entire hiking section to choose from. (AND, tennis, basketball, running,...)

So,...do stores not carry hikers for women because women don’t hike? Or, do women not hike because they can’t find the appropriate footwear?

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Mary said...


HA! Good question! Maybe more women would hike if there were portable potties available every few miles.

Hope you find your perfect boot!

RuthieJ said...

Oh Nina, that sucks that you can't find a good pair of hikers. I'm "fortunate" that my feet are big and I can sometimes find just the right thing in a small man's size. Men's are a little wider than women's hikers so I can wear thicker socks too. Good luck.

Cathy said...

Yes, Ruthie has the answer. Women hike in men's boots. I guess I'm 'blessed' with big feet, too.

One would like to know how you managed a 'gash' in your boot. Hope it just got crunched as the tail gate was coming down and your foot didn't experience the assault:0)

nina said...

I've actually now ordered a pair that should be here shortly--hope they fit!
But my frustration was that such an easy (no admission, uniform,...) "sport" (yes, it's exercise!) seemed so obviously slanted toward men as participants. Girls now play most other sports that were thought of as men's years ago--why hasn't this trend followed for hiking?
Maybe this is a regional thing? Midwest isn't exactly hiking central USA!

btw--The gash must've happened walking past something sharp (rock?) because my foot's fine--didn't notice it until next morning, lacing up.

Jennifer said...

Oh don't even get me started on outdoor-wear for women! But when my trusty Merrils blew a hole in the side, I was in a similar situation. I had to travel about an hourto the Big City and a Gander Mountain outdoor store. Lucky for me there were only two pairs of women's boots to choose from. (When I got the Merrils, they were the only pair of women's hiking boots in the store! That day of shopping went very quickly.) I walked around in both pairs for quite some time before deciding on the more expensive of the two. I've hiked several times and I don't regret the extra bucks! But shopping can be frustrating for us girls...

Body Soul Spirit said...

I love my Merrells as they are sturdy, light, and not too hot in the summer. I get them at a shoe outlet, but agree that the average store has no selection for women.

KatDoc said...

I had the same experience this year when I had to replace my hiking boots. There was nothing in a regular shoe outlet, the Dick's Sporting Goods had one "hiking" shoe for women - a modified sneaker with no ankle support - and dozens of styles for men. I ended up at Boot Country, where they did have several woman's styles, but not that suited me just right. The helpful (woman) clerk finally set me up with a pair of Arrias boots - Yes, they were men's, but they fit just fine and I love them.

So, all of us women hikers ought to get together and complain. Why, oh why, don't they make boots for us?

Mary: You don't need portable potty - the world is full of bushes!


nina said...

I chose Merrells, too!!!!
One of my daughters has them and they've served her well (hiked the volcanos thru heavy mist in Galapagos)--she'd rather part with her foot, than give you her boots!
And I found one of their brand (not the style I wanted) in an outdoor store here and tried it for size. If the rest of their styles fit true to size, I should be all set with what I ordered.
(But I felt very devious)

cestoady said...

Mary's comment is well taken -- and so is Katdoc's.

Many years ago, while at the Audubon camp in Maine,I was wirh a mixed group of campers on an extened trip to a distant,uninhabited , heavily wooded island to view bird life. When we finally arrived at the beach, I was not alone in wondering what we would now do for a "rest "stop. My anxiety was assuaged when ourleader,who must have been a hunter or knew dogs, stood before us and proudly announced as he motioned down either side of the beach and forest .. " pointers to the right.. setters to the left ". We all laughed and off we went to find our persona;l bush or tree.

Good luck with the boots , Nina.